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Evidence of a hybrid‐zone in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the Baltic and the Danish Belt Sea revealed by individual admixture analysis
Nielsen, E.E.; Hansen, M.M.; Ruzzante, D.E.; Meldrup, D.; Grønkjaer, P. (2003). Evidence of a hybrid‐zone in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the Baltic and the Danish Belt Sea revealed by individual admixture analysis. Mol. Ecol. 12(6): 1497-1508.
In: Molecular Ecology. Blackwell: Oxford. ISSN 0962-1083; e-ISSN 1365-294X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Gadus morhua Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Atlantic cod; Baltic Sea; hybrid-zone; individual admixture analysis; marine fish; microsatellite DNA

Authors  Top 
  • Nielsen, E.E.
  • Hansen, M.M.
  • Ruzzante, D.E.
  • Meldrup, D.
  • Grønkjaer, P.

    The study of hybrid zones is central to our understanding of the genetic basis of reproductive isolation and speciation, yet very little is known about the extent and significance of hybrid zones in marine fishes. We examined the population structure of cod in the transition area between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea employing nine microsatellite loci. Genetic differentiation between the North Sea sample and the rest increased along a transect to the Baltic proper, with a large increase in level of differentiation occurring in the Western Baltic area. Our objective was to determine whether this pattern was caused purely by varying degrees of mechanical mixing of North Sea and Baltic Sea cod or by interbreeding and formation of a hybrid swarm. Simulation studies revealed that traditional Hardy–Weinberg analysis did not have sufficient power for detection of a Wahlund effect. However, using a model-based clustering method for individual admixture analysis, we were able to demonstrate the existence of intermediate genotypes in all samples from the transition area. Accordingly, our data were explained best by a model of a hybrid swarm flanked by pure nonadmixed populations in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea proper. Significant correlation of gene identities across loci (gametic phase disequilibrium) was found only in a sample from the Western Baltic, suggesting this area as the centre of the apparent hybrid zone. A hybrid zone for cod in the ecotone between the high-saline North Sea and the low-saline Baltic Sea is discussed in relation to its possible origin and maintenance, and in relation to a classical study of haemoglobin variation in cod from the Baltic Sea/Danish Belt Sea, suggesting mixing of two divergent populations without interbreeding.

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